Whatever will De Villiers tell us – and CSA – next?

Times Media


TELFORD VICECape Town

A week is a long time in politics, but not nearly as long as 24 hours in cricket.

And particularly not if the cricketer in question is AB de Villiers.

On Tuesday, minutes after De Villiers confirmed he would not be available for South Africa’s test series in New Zealand in March,  Haroon Lorgat was asked what the chances were of De Villiers playing in the tests in England in July and August.

“What we’re doing and what we’ve tended to do is take it a series at a time,” Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) chief executive said.

“I’m confident that by the time we look at England and the Champions Trophy he’ll be fully fit, raring to go.

“His appetite will have returned, because then it would be a fair amount of time that he would have had.

“I know family circumstances change people – having children and being at home for a while will make him very relaxed.

“But I’m confident that England is the type of series he will want to be involved in.”

On Wednesday De Villiers shattered that confidence when he told reporters he had taken his name out of the hat for the England series.

It’s difficult to know which to believe: that De Villiers did not tell Lorgat – his boss – of his plans before he told the press, or that his boss did not tell the press what he already knew.

But, logically, Lorgat would surely not say something he knew would be contradicted, and that would make him seem out of touch with important figures in the organisation he heads.

This discrepancy will not sit easily with cricketminded South Africans coming so soon after Kyle Abbott’s signing of a Kolpak deal was exposed just days after he had led the nation to believe he was committed to a cause greater than filling his grocery cupboard.

Tuesday morning’s event at the Wanderers, ostensibly the launch of the Pink Drive, CSA’s annual effort to heighten breast cancer awareness, was carefully stage managed.

The only questions De Villiers answered were softballs tossed gently underarm by an easygoing programme director.

Not to worry, assembled reporters who had more relevant questions and wanted more relevant answers were told: there would be opportunities to ask them later.

But when later arrived the press were told De Villiers had left to fulfill an earlier engagement at Affies, his alma mater, because the launch had run over time – which it had thanks to the late arrival of government officials, who then pushed the schedule further out of shape by rambling through speeches so ill-prepared they insulted their audience.

De Villiers would, however, be available on Tuesday afternoon. Or so we were told.

That became Wednesday, when the whole truth finally was out.

At least, we hope De Villiers missing the England tests – and two against Bangladesh at home in September and October, but those don’t matter nearly as much – is the whole truth.

Because who knows what Thursday will bring?

De Villiers apologised to the press on Wednesday for his performance on Tuesday, saying he “didn’t have the opportunity to come across as well as I would have wanted to because there was a presenter and I wasn’t able to give you guys what you wanted”.

Thanks AB. Apology accepted. But what are you going to tell Lorgat?

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